The First Decade List According to Key Subject Areas





Youth & Lifelong Learning

Older People

The Economy

Health and Social Care

Social Justice

Equality and Human Rights





Sport and Culture


The Welsh Language

Welsh Law

Wales and the World

Introduction to the 'What They've Done For Us'  list 



Welsh Language

The First Decade

Welcome to Aled Edwards' "What They've Done For Us" welsh Language list. Written a little in the style of Monty Python's Life of Brian "What have the Romans done for us?"  the list aims to provide a reliable record of the distinctive Welsh policies brought about by devolution (1999-2009). Beyond underlining the distinctiveness of Welsh policies no substantive attempt is made here to evaluate the performance of Welsh Assembly Governments or to list the policies brought about by other UK legislatures but not adopted in Wales. The dates in brackets normally indicate when the development was announced by the Welsh Assembly Government through a press release.

Third Assembly 2007 - 2009


Welcomed representatives of the Regional Council of Brittany, who visited Wales to look at best practice concerning the development of the Welsh language and to study the possibilities for Brittany developing similar projects. (April 2009).


Began the process of applying for the right to legislate on the Welsh language to be transferred from Westminster to the National Assembly with a view to creating a Welsh law (called a Measure) to “confirm official status” for both the Welsh and English languages, securing linguistic rights in the provision of services, and to establish a Language Commissioner”. (February 2009).


The Learner Travel Measure, which placed a duty on local authorities to promote access to Welsh Medium Education received Royal Approval. (December 2008).


The Welsh Language Board launched a new service for businesses in Wales – a template for language policies. (November 2008).


The Welsh Assembly Government's Heritage Minister became the first person to speak Welsh formally at an institutional meeting of the European Union leading the UK delegation to the EU Council of Ministers (Culture) in Brussels. (November 2008).


On the eve of the European Day of Languages, Tesco announced that all self-service checkouts in Wales had become bilingual. (September 2008).


Welcomed the news that Golwg Ltd had won the tender to provide a daily Welsh language news service. (May 2008).


Supported the Welsh Language in Healthcare Conference and Awards Ceremony 2008 – ‘Learning from Others’, acknowledging the effort and commitment shown by individuals towards the Welsh language in seven different categories from a number of areas in healthcare. (May 2008).


Announced that Welsh Language Sabbatical Pilot Scheme for teachers, lecturers and trainers has been so successful it would run for another two years and that since the pilot scheme began more than 72 people have completed the training. (July 2007).


Had a constructive meeting with representatives from the travel company Thomas Cook earlier to discuss the company’s Welsh language policy. During the meeting, Thomas Cook confirmed that it was committed to using both the Welsh and English languages and there was no ban on staff speaking Welsh, either socially or in a work context.  It also said that there was no ban on speaking Welsh with its customers. (July 2007).

Second Assembly 2003 - 2007

bullet Announced that The Mental Health Review Tribunal for Wales had adopted the principle that in the conduct of public business and the administration of justice in Wales, it would treat the English and Welsh languages on a basis of equality. (August 2006).
bullet Welcomed the publication of Estyn’s report on Welsh immersion pilot projects in schools. (March 2006).
bullet Welcomed statistics showing that the numbers of Welsh speaking primary schools and pupils had increased. The statistics showed that there were 455 Welsh speaking primary schools (almost 29% of the total) at January 2005 with 52,800 pupils on roll, seven more schools and 1,700 more pupils than in 2004. In secondary schools the percentage of pupils of compulsory school age taught Welsh as a first language had risen to 14.8% with a further 84.2% taught Welsh as a second language. The numbers of pupils assessed in Welsh as a first language at Key Stage 1 and 2 had also risen. (January 2006).
bullet Announced £90,000 to develop a language performance test for children and young people through the medium of Welsh. (January 2006).
bullet The first Fforwm Iaith (language forum). was held in Porthmadog. They offered an opportunity for anyone with an interest in the Welsh language to share their views and to provide suggestions on future policy. (October 2005).
bullet Praised health professionals for their work to improve the patient experience by increasing Welsh language provision in the service during the 2005 Welsh language in Healthcare Awards. (May 2005).
bullet Announced that the project, which involves the secondment of Welsh teachers to Patagonia, as well as the training of local Welsh tutors, will receive £105,000 over three years. (May 2005).
bullet Announced that the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, had agreed the translation of the EU Constitutional Treaty into Welsh - the first time any European Treaty will have become available in the language. (March 2005).
bullet Announced that following extensive discussions between the Welsh Assembly Government and the Home Office, Welsh would be included on every page which contains other EU member state languages. (January 2005).
bullet Announced details of a three-year stabilisation programme for the National Eisteddfod. The short-term future of the Eisteddfod to be secured by an injection of an additional £160,000. (October 2004).
bullet Commissioned a report finding that the health service is in promising shape to provide for Welsh speakers. (October 2004).
bullet First immersion and intensive language teaching pilots launched as set out in Iaith Pawb. (2004).
bullet Announced that £4.87m had been earmarked for Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin and Trinity College, Carmarthen to deliver a new training programme for Welsh-medium early years practitioners. (August 2004).
bullet At the publication of the annual report on Iaith Pawb, the Assembly Government’s strategic action plan for the future of the Welsh language recorded: doubling the funding for the Welsh Language Board, bringing water companies under the Welsh Language Act, rolling out the Twf project, which encourages bilingual parents to speak Welsh to their children, to the whole of Wales and committing an additional £1m to the project over the next three years, establishment of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and the successful completion of its first new production and tour, funding the new Welsh medium Early Years Centre at Abercynon, ELWa’s approval of its bilingual learning strategy, including a long-term strategy for Welsh medium provision, the production of HEFCW’s study on supply and demand for Welsh medium provision in Higher Education and NHS Language Awareness Video and Training pack successfully piloted and rolled out. (July 2004).
bullet Highlighted new research suggesting that speaking more than one language from an early age can help protect the brain from age-related decline. (June 2004).
bullet In giving evidence to the Richards Commission a commitment was made to extending the scope of the Welsh Language Act to cover the utilities, as is outlined in laith Pawb, the Assembly Government's National Action Plan for a Bilingual Wales. To this end, the Assembly Government was preparing a statutory instrument which would seek to designate water companies under the Welsh Language Act for the National Assembly's consideration early in 2004. (August 2003)

First Assembly 1999 - 2003

bullet Announced a further 3 years of funding to support the Welsh language and culture in Patagonia. (December 2002).
bullet Furthered a Wales-wide consideration of the language by all local planning authorities. (April 2002).
bullet Established a pattern of providing increased support for the Transference of Language in the Family Project (TWF). (March 2002).
bullet Highlighted increased support for mentrau iaith with an extra £228k through the Welsh Language Board in 2001-02 (a 53% increase). (January 2002).
bullet Supported legislation allowing Welsh language birth and death certificates throughout England and Wales. (January 2002).
bullet Announced an additional £200,000 for the Welsh Language Board (2000-01).
bullet Guaranteed the National Eisteddfod £150,000 against any loss which could have been incurred following the foot and mouth outbreak. (2001).
bullet Undertook a simultaneous review of the role of the Welsh Language in Education and Lifelong Learning looking specifically at Welsh medium and bilingual provision from Early Years provision to adult lifelong learning.
bullet Funded research into Welsh medium and bilingual provision for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and published a new SEN Code of Practice which includes a section on statutory obligations of Local Authorities under the Welsh Language Act 1993.
bullet Created law both in English and in Welsh. (1999).